The Rules of the Library by Peter Liversidge


Peter Liversidge writes our ‘Rules of the Library’, as a commission for the new Outset Study

The Rules of the Library, 2013

by Peter Liversidge
Billboard poster on library wall

The rules for the library are given as instruction; they are rules for behaving within a space or organization, in this case the new Drawing Room Library.
They are not the rules, but they give instruction as to how to behave within a certain space, structure or environment.
The rules for the Drawing Room are grouped rules from many different organizations around the world, not that their sources are revealed.

Coming from many sets or rules for widely differing organizations: The Library of Congress, Rules of how to travel the Panama Canal, Rules from the British Library, The Frick Collection, Rules from the Monks: on how to be a Monk (the Monks were a 1960s avant-guard garage rock band) Rules for Pool-side etiquette, invented rules, existing rules, the one thing that these rules have in common, other than being rules, is that they have been re-written to become the Rules of the new Drawing Room Library.

Presented as a 3×2 meter high billboard dominating the space. You are left in no doubt as to how you should behave.


Definition of rules; from five different online dictionary sources:

Rules; an accepted principle or instruction that states the way things are or should be done, and tells you what you are allowed or are not allowed to do:

A referee must know all the rules of the game.
The first/most important rule in life is always to appear confident.
Before you start your own business you should be familiar with the government's rules and regulations.
You must follow/ obey/ observe the rules.
You must not break the rules.
In special cases the manager will bend/ stretch the rules (= allow the rules to be broken).
You can trust Ruth because she always plays (it) by/goes by/does things by the rules (= follows instructions, standards, or rules).
[+ to infinitive] It's against the rules (of/in boxing) to hit below the belt.
[+ that] It's a club rule that new members must sing a song.

16 October 2013